Saint Mary's College of California

Online Placement Test

For new students in Fall 2017:

The Saint Mary’s math placement test is administered online to new incoming students during the summer. The test for students starting in Fall 2017 will open on May 1, 2017. We ask that students complete the placement exam by May 31.

If you have questions or technical issues taking the online exam, you can email for assistance.


Login id:  Your SMC email id, e.g.  crh65 or fc2

Password: Your 6 digit Saint Mary’s identification number (ignoring the initial zero):   123456 or 506070. Yours probably starts with a 9.

If the password doesn’t work, the site has a “don’t remember my password” procedure on the login page which results in your password being mailed to you.

Once you are logged in, click on the link that says “Summer 2017 Incoming Students.”

There are two tests available, the SMC calculus readiness test (for students who are required to take calculus) and the SMC algebra placement test (for students who do not plan to take calculus). You may take either test or both. In particular, if you take the calculus readiness test and don’t feel that it demonstrated your mathematical strengths, it might be especially useful to take the algebra exam.

  • Calculus is required for students majoring in: Allied Health Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, and 3+2 Engineering Program.
  • Calculus is required for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics (but not a Bachelor of Arts).
  • Calculus is required for Business Majors in the concentration of Business Analytics (but not other concentrations). If you are interested in business and have taken studied math beyond Algebra 2 (not including statistics), you should take both the calculus readiness test and the algebra placement test. This will maximize your options moving forward.
  • All other students are welcome to take the calculus readiness exam, but calculus is unlikely to be required for your major.

The calculus readiness test has 25 questions and takes 30 minutes; the algebra test has 32 questions and takes 40 minutes to complete. Once you begin the exam, you cannot stop. When you finish each question, click “Next” for the next question. Do not click the button that says “Quit & Save,” as the clock will continue to run even if you do this. Do not click the button that says “Submit,” as this will submit your assignment and prevent you from continuing. Note also that your work is automatically saved every time you answer a question.

If you wish to prepare for the placement test, there are various self-help books available. Any SAT subject preparation book covers most of the topics on which you will be tested. Such books contain explanations and practice exams to help you. The following is a sample of typical questions that appear on the Algebra Placement test. The answers appear at the end of the set of questions.

What’s New

The Math & CS Department is seeking applications for the Brother Dominic Barry Math Scholarships, which will be awarded to incoming freshmen in 2016! For information, go to Activities » Math Scholarship Competition.

Math in the Media

The United States has won the Math Olympiad for the first time in 21 years!

Quanta Magazing highlights a new result of Princeton mathematician Maria Chudnovsky regarding the coloring of perfect graphs.